Music Skills Core Units

Subject details

The following is ordered alphabetically by area, and contains the non-principal study core units of study for all undergraduate degrees and diplomas. Many of these core units of study can also be taken as electives.

Music Skills

Aural Perception

Aural Perception is taken as a sequence of either four or five semester units. On entry to the BMus, DipMus, BMusStudies and combined degree awards courses, students will -- on the basis of a written test -- be assigned either to AP1 or to AP1A and AP1B. Both options cover the same material and have the same exit standard, but while AP1 is a one semester unit, AP1A and AP1B extend over one year (two semesters) to enable students with limited experience or weakness to progress at a slower pace. Regardless of the results of the written test, students may request enrolment in AP1A and AP1B. Students who successfully complete AP1 in first semester progress to AP2 in second semester. Students who successfully complete AP1B at the end of second semester progress to AP2 in first semester of the following year. The AP units aim to foster musical understanding by developing the aural perception skills which are essential for any professional musician: The ability to recognise, memorise and notate musical patterns heard (dictation and analysis work); and the ability to imagine in one's 'inner ear', and reproduce vocally, musical patterns from notation (Solfege work). Students are encouraged to apply the ideas and procedures studied in class to their own musical pursuits. Within the Musicology unit, AP is integrated as closely as possible with the Harmony and Music History units. For further information contact the Aural Perception Co-ordinator, Christopher Coady (Musicology).
MCGY1000 Aural Perception 1

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Christopher Coady Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 1hr Lab and one 1hr Solfege tut/wk Assumed knowledge: Ability to read music notation including treble and bass clefs. Knowledge of all tonal key signatures and standard time signatures. Assessment: Weekly Lab assignment (15%); 1hr mid-semester written test (15%); Solfege class work assessment (15%); 1hr written examination (30%): 10 min Solfege examination (25%).
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Students work on dictation and sightsinging exercises using diatonic pitch materials in all major and minor keys, and simple and compound metres, including rhythms using triplets and duplets. Sight singing exercises use both moveable-'do' sol-fa and letter-names systems. Dictation exercises emphasise the aural identification of tonic, pitch collection and metre.
Textbooks
Gary S. Karpinski and Richard Kram: Anthology for Sight Singing, New York; Norton (2007). Gary S. Karpinski: Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing, New York, Norton (2007)
MCGY1001 Aural Perception 1A

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Christopher Coady Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 1hr lab and one 1hr Solfege tut/wk Assumed knowledge: Ability to read music notation including treble and bass clefs. Knowledge of all tonal key signatures and standard time signatures. Assessment: Weekly Lab tests (25%); weekly Lab assignments (15%); Solfege tutorial assessment (15%); 1hr Lab examination (25%); 5 min Solfege examination (20%).
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Students work on dictation and sightsinging exercises using diatonic pitch materials in all major and minor keys, and simple and compound metres. Sight singing exercises use both moveable-'do' sol-fa and letter-names systems. Dictation exercises emphasise the aural identification of tonic, pitch collection and metre.
Textbooks
Gary S. Karpinski and Richard Kram: Anthology for Sight Singing, New York; Norton (2007). Gary S. Karpinski: Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing, New York, Norton (2007)
MCGY1002 Aural Perception 1B

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Christopher Coady Session: Semester 2 Classes: One 1hr Lab and one 1hr Solfege tut/wk Prerequisites: MCGY1001 Assessment: Weekly Lab assignment (15%); 1hr mid-semester written test (15%); Solfege class work assessment (15%); 1hr written examination (30%): 10 min Solfege examination (25%).
Students continue to working on dictation and sightsinging exercises using diatonic pitch materials in all major and minor keys, and rhythms using triplets and duplets. Sight singing exercises use both moveable-'do' sol-fa and letter-names systems. Dictation exercises emphasise the aural identification of tonic, pitch collection and metre..
Textbooks
Gary S. Karpinski and Richard Kram: Anthology for Sight Singing, New York; Norton (2007). Gary S. Karpinski: Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing, New York, Norton (2007)
MCGY1003 Aural Perception 2

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Christopher Coady Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: One 1hr Lab and one 1hr Solfege tut/wk Prerequisites: MCGY1000 or MCGY1002 Assessment: Weekly Lab assignment (15%); 1hr mid-semester written test (15%); Solfege class work assessment (15%); 1hr written examination (30%): 10 min Solfege examination (25%).
Materials studied include diatonic harmony, species counterpoint, modes and rhythms using sub- and supertriplets.
Textbooks
Gary S. Karpinski and Richard Kram: Anthology for Sight Singing, New York; Norton (2007). Gary S. Karpinski: Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing, New York, Norton (2007)
MCGY2004 Aural Perception 3

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Christopher Coady Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: One 1hr Lab and one 1hr Solfege tut/wk Prerequisites: MCGY1003 Assessment: Weekly Lab assignment (15%); 1hr mid-semester written test (15%); Solfege class work assessment (15%); 1hr written examination (30%): 10 min Solfege examination (25%).
Materials studied include more complex tonal melodies, chromatic tonal harmony, and rhythms using irregular division and small divisions.
Textbooks
Gary S. Karpinski and Richard Kram: Anthology for Sight Singing, New York; Norton (2007). Gary S. Karpinski: Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing, New York, Norton (2007)
MCGY2005 Aural Perception 4

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Christopher Coady Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: One 1hr Lab and one 1hr Solfege tut/wk Prerequisites: MCGY2004 Assessment: Weekly Lab assignment (15%); 1hr mid-semester written test (15%); Solfege class work assessment (15%); 1hr written examination (30%); 10 min Solfege examination (25%).
Materials studied include more complex chromatic tonal harmony, atonal melodic and harmonic materials, and more complex rhythmic materials including irregular and mixed metres.
Textbooks
Gary S. Karpinski and Richard Kram: Anthology for Sight Singing, New York; Norton (2007). Gary S. Karpinski: Manual for Ear Training and Sight Singing, New York, Norton (2007) Additional textbooks as advised by the lecturer or on the course website.

Harmony and Analysis

MCGY1008 Harmony and Analysis 1

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Lewis Cornwell Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1 lecture,1 tutorial/wk Assumed knowledge: Ability to read musical notation including treble and bass clefs, and knowledge of scales, intervals and triads in tonal music. Assessment: Assignments (40%), examination (60%)
An understanding of the materials of tonal music is fundamental to all aspects of a student's musicianship. The acquisition of practical skills in harmony provides a means of examining in their essence issues of musical structure and technique that apply throughout the tonal repertoire. In the first semester students gain fluency in writing four-part harmonisations using diatonic vocabulary, learning the basic chord functions and voice-leading patterns that will provide a framework for later elaboration. Exercises in species counterpoint are included to assist in the comprehension of voice leading principles, and the linear conception of music is further explored through introductory exercises in analysis.
Textbooks
Gauldin Robert, Harmonic practice in tonal music. 2nd ed. NY: Norton, 2004.
MCGY1009 Harmony and Analysis 2

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Lewis Cornwell Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1 lecture,1 tutorial/wk Prerequisites: MCGY1008 Assessment: Assignments (40%), examination (60%)
Having acquired basic skills in voice leading and an understanding of diatonic chord functions, students are introduced to more advanced concepts that are encountered frequently in the tonal repertoire. These include modulation, diatonic sequences and techniques for working with instrumental textures. Counterpoint studies are continued, both in practice and in analysis, where some aspects of Baroque musical forms are considered.
Textbooks
Gauldin Robert. Harmonic practice in tonal music. 2nd ed NY: Norton, 2004
MCGY2010 Harmony and Analysis 3

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Lewis Cornwell Session: Semester 1 Classes: 4 lectures and 8 keyboard tutorials/semester, 1 tutorial/wk Prerequisites: MCGY1009 Assessment: Assignments (30%), Keyboard assessments (30%), examination (40%)
In Semesters 1 and 2 some separation is maintained between studies in counterpoint and harmony but the emphasis here is upon drawing together those two aspects. An ideal model for this approach is offered by the chorales of J.S. Bach, which form a focus in Semester 3. Each topic is, however, extended to embrace later styles and assignments include the writing of short piano pieces, along with chorale settings and figured-bass exercises. With the benefit of a broader harmonic vocabulary, students will also investigate some aspects of fugal technique and sonata forms.
Textbooks
Gauldin, Robert. Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music. 2nd Ed NY: Norton, 2004. Gauldin, Robert. Workbook for Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music. 2nd Ed NY: Norton, 2004.
MCGY2011 Harmony and Analysis 4

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Lewis Cornwell Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1 lecture,1 tutorial/wk Prerequisites: MCGY2010 Assessment: Assignments (50%), examination (50%).
The study of pre-20th century tonal harmony is completed with a consideration of chromatic techniques, particularly those found in the music of the first half of the 19th century. An exhaustive study of later 19th century chromaticism is beyond the scope of a course at this level, but is intended that students will at least acquire the ability to look further into the music of that period as they encounter it. In keeping with the stylistic orientation of the course, emphasis is placed upon developing facility with instrumental textures and working with some of the smaller forms found in 19th century music.
Textbooks
Gauldin, Robert. Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music. 2nd Ed NY: Norton, 2004. Gauldin, Robert. Workbook for Harmonic Practice in Tonal Music. 2nd Ed NY: Norton, 2004.

Jazz Music Skills

JAZZ1621 Jazz Music Skills 1

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Craig Scott, Matt McMahon Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 x 2 hr tuts/week Corequisites: JAZZ1601 or JAZZ1631 Assessment: Harmony and Arranging Module: Written harmony test (50%), approved number of arrangements (50%) Aural Module: Two tests (2x20%), one 2 hour exam (60%)
Harmony and Arranging Module: Students review clefs, key signatures, note values, dynamics, articulation, and learn copying and rehearsal techniques. In addition, instruction will include the ranges of and transpositions for the various instruments, chord symbols, scale-chord relationships, and rhythm section scoring. This unit deals with the study of the harmony of standard jazz repertoire. Students learn to understand and use basic harmonic rules and the typical harmonic devices, diatonic progression and chord patterns which are learned with a view to generating a creative sense of jazz harmony and the ability to write small combo arrangements. The harmonic techniques explored in this unit of study are used as the theoretical basis for Jazz improvisation. Students may be organised into ensemble-like groups and may be expected to bring their instruments to perform the works presented. Aural Module: Offers a systematic study of all simple intervals up to and including one octave, triadic harmony, four note chords in closed position and voice leading within these concepts, focusing on common harmonic movements that occur in the jazz repertoire. N.B Both the Harmony and Aural Modules must be passed in order for the student to proceed to Jazz Music Skills 2.
Textbooks
The Chord Scale Theory & Jazz Harmony / Barrie Nettles; Richard Graf
JAZZ1622 Jazz Music Skills 2

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Craig Scott, Matt McMahon Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 x 2 hr tuts/week Prerequisites: JAZZ1621 Corequisites: JAZZ1632 Assessment: Harmony and Arranging Module: Written harmony test (50%), approved number of arrangements (50%) Aural Module:Two tests (2x20%), one 2 hour exam (60%)
Harmony and Arranging Module: In semester two, the voicing techniques for two to four horns stressing the most effective registers, harmonisation of passing tones, clusters and other techniques will be introduced. The harmonic techniques explored in this unit are used as the theoretical basis for Jazz improvisation. Students may be organised into ensemble-like groups and may be expected to bring their instruments to perform the works presented.
Aural Module: Consolidates and expands upon concepts and skills introduced in Jazz Music Skills 1, and introduces compound intervals, open voicings, the addition of upper extensions to all chord types, and increasingly complex harmonic structures. N.B Both the Harmony and Aural Modules must be passed in order for the student to proceed to Jazz Music Skills 3.
Textbooks
The Chord Scale Theory & Jazz Harmony / Barrie Nettles; Richard Graf
JAZZ2623 Jazz Music Skills 3

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Craig Scott, Matt McMahon Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 x 2 hr tuts/week Prerequisites: JAZZ1622 Corequisites: JAZZ2603 or JAZZ2633 Assessment: Harmony and Arranging Module: Written harmony test (50%), approved number of arrangements (50%) Aural Module: Two tests (2x20%), one 2 hour exam (60%)
Harmony and Arranging Module: Concentrates on more complex harmonic material that forms the basis for Jazz Improvisation 3 as well as learning arranging techniques for five horns and more complex ensemble music. Methods of reharmonisation of existing jazz and standard compositions will be introduced. Students will learn big band orchestration which will include ensemble scoring, sax soli, background writing, form and the related uses of counterpoint.There will be detailed analysis of scores of major composers and arrangers.
Aural Module: Consolidates and expands upon concepts and skills introduced in Jazz Music Skills 1 and 2, plus introducing advanced chord types, and increasingly complex harmonic structures. N.B Both the Harmony and Aural Modules must be passed in order for the student to proceed to Jazz Music Skills 4.
Textbooks
The Chord Scale Theory & Jazz Harmony / Barrie Nettles; Richard Graf
JAZZ2624 Jazz Music Skills 4

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Craig Scott, Matt McMahon Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 x 2 hr tuts/week Prerequisites: JAZZ2623 Corequisites: JAZZ2604 or JAZZ2634 Assessment: Harmony and Arranging Module: approved number of arrangements (100%) Aural Module: Two tests (2x20%), one 2 hour exam (60%)
Harmony and Arranging Module: Students learn big band orchestration including ensemble scoring, sax soli, background writing, form and the related uses of counterpoint. There will be detailed analysis of scores of major composers and arrangers. Selected arrangements may be rehearsed by a Big Band. Students may study contemporary techniques encompassing elements of polytonality, serial composition, extended instrumental effects Lydian technique and textural voicings. This subject also deals with the harmonic concepts used in Jazz Improvisation.
Aural Module: Consolidates all concepts from Jazz Music Skills 1, 2 and 3. By its conclusion, students will have systematically examined, over four semesters, aural concepts that are essential to creative musical interplay in jazz performance. N.B Both the Harmony and Aural Modules must be passed in order for the student to complete.
Textbooks
The Chord Scale Theory & Jazz Harmony / Barrie Nettles; Richard Graf

Music Technology

MUED1002 Creative Music Technology

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Matthew Hindson Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1 hr lab/studio/wk Assumed knowledge: Basic computer skills. Assessment: Music Technology Projects (100%)
In this unit of study students will be introduced to a range of audio technologies and gain a basic proficiency in sound recording, editing and mixing. Students will experience working in the Conservatorium sound studios, and learn how to make good quality recordings with portable recording devices. There will be an overview of software for notation /sequencing. Students will explore the creative possibilities of music technology by realising a sound work using instrumental and environmental material recorded and edited by them.

Sound Recording

CMPN2006 Sound Recording Fundamentals

Credit points: 3 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Ivan Zavada Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2hr studio class/wk Assessment: Live Stereo Recording (40%), Solo Studio Recording (40%), Online Exam (20%).
This unit of study examines the theory of sound and acoustics, microphone design, stereo microphone techniques, mixing console operation, application of signal modifiers, digital audio recording and CD creation. Students will experience prac-based recording sessions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the recording technology on offer at the Sydney Conservatorium. Jazz students should have completed Jazz Performance 6 before enroling in this unit of study.